Mission to Peking
"My first job is to run this House," Hammarskjold said on taking up his post.
His next was to move the UN back into the center of serious diplomacy. Ever since the collapse of the UN cease-fire effort after the Chinese "volunteers" swarmed into the Korean War, the world organization had been elbowed to the sidelines, a forum for invective and propaganda, manager of a modest technical assistance program, but exercising only peripheral influence on the major issues affecting peace and security.
When Hammarskjold assumed office the UN had atrophied alarmingly. It was serving neither as an instrument for collective security nor as a center for negotiation and conciliation. Great national weeklies were carrying articles with titles like "The UN Is Dying." On a disquietingly large number of world issues the great powers were by-passing the world organization.
An opportunity to begin restoring the political prerogatives of